Mongolia is experiencing very low temperatures and heavy snowfall since early November 2015, locally named Dzud. According to the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), snow has covered 90 per cent of the total territory with conditions getting more severe.
Based on the latest assessment report released from the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as experiencing Dzud while 120 soums in 20 provinces are on the edge of entering Dzud condition. Some local level governments have already declared Dzud in their respective soums as part of the early warning and preparedness measures.
The Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment has indicated that based on the weather forecast, continuous snowfall, snowstorms and temperatures are expected to persist on average of below -25 degrees Celsius during daytime and -38 degrees during night in the coming weeks. These will further affect more than 965,000 people, especially vulnerable herders living in the affected soums. (IFRC, 15 Jan 2016)
On 15 January 2016, IFRC released 158,000 Swiss francs (157,686 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist 1,500 herder families (7,500 people) in Mongolia who are at risk of losing all their livestock to extreme sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.(IFRC, 18 Jan 2016)
On 2 March, the IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 834,000 Swiss Francs (USD 835,000 / 768,000 Euros) to assist 25,500 vulnerable Mongolian herders who are at risk of losing their livestock and livelihoods due to extreme winter conditions known as ‘Dzud.’ (IFRC, 2 Mar 2016)
According to recent information from the Mongolian Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, heavy snowfall and snowstorms will continue in March, especially in the north-western aimags. In total 965,000 people – mostly herders – have been affected by dzud and are on the edge of facing devastating cold, snow storm, loss of their livestock and food insecurity. Among the affected populations are 5,019 expectant women, 20,874 children aged under five years, 6,117 people with a disability and 4,173 households living below the national poverty line. (IFRC, 31 Mar 2016)
Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world. It is also home to a number of long-running conflicts that exact a human toll. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) places women and girls at the center of humanitarian response. Every year the number and frequency of disasters (whether natural or conflict-related) is increasing, with millions of people displaced from their homes.
The National Emergency Management Authority has officially declared the winter dzud over; however, spring conditions remained variable and harsh, with snowfall occurring in some parts, and dry conditions anticipated.
The consequences of the recent winter dzud are linked to El Niño, and may negatively impact livestock health and place additional strain on herder households in spring and during the summer months. Average temperatures for May will be higher than average in western territories.
The Government of Mongolia has officially declared the winter dzud over; however rains and unseasonal snow continue to impact vulnerable herders by putting stress on their livelihoods due to additional livestock deaths. Since January, some 1.1 million animals (up to 5.8 per cent) of the national livestock total have perished. Cash grants and cash-for-work interventions have begun as part of early recovery efforts. In March, CERF allocated $2.4 million to jumpstart health and nutrition, agriculture, protection and early recovery activities.
Mongolia Humanitarian Forum
International Humanitarian Relief & Collaboration for Dzud affected Herders
Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia
Humanitarian Partners, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
• The UN reports that 41% of the country’s herder population is seriously affected by the dzud (225 000 people). Most affected were the provinces in the eastern and western parts of the country.
• The HCT updates the Dzud Response and Preparedness plan on 25 April for 12 months.
• Several UN agencies, international and national NGOs and the Red Cross are assisting the government’s response efforts.
Extreme winter “dzud,” a Mongolian term for an exceedingly harsh winter, has killed millions of animals since last December. Mongolian nomadic herders now face a desolate future in the face of losing all of their livestock before the winter is over.
Background and purpose
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather. While the El Niño itself has passed its peak and is now declining, its impact is still growing. Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in other areas.
Dzud is a cyclical slow onset disaster unique to Mongolia. It consists of a summer drought, resulting in insufficient production of hay, followed by a very heavy winter snow (10 to 350 cm), winds and lower than normal temperatures (-40° C to-50° C). During this time an excessive number of livestock die causing basic services, and in the longer term, livelihoods to collapse in vulnerable herder communities.
The current El Niño started in Asia and the Pacific region from as early as March 2015. It reached strong levels in some countries in July 2015. In many countries the effects of the phenomenon remained strong throughout the first quarter of 2016. However, the humanitarian impacts have now become critical in many countries and humanitarian response have been ramping up.
No. 090/2016 dated 20 April 2016
By Mely Caballero-Anthony and Jonatan A. Lassa
Millions of people are at risk of hunger, starvation and diseases as a result of the onset of the unusually strong El-Nino since 2015 till now. But efforts in disaster risk preparedness and climate change adaptation have been haphazard. There is urgency for action to avert more catastrophic consequences of new climate patterns.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Robert Schoellhammer and the Minister of Finance of Mongolia Bolor Bayarbaatar today signed a $2 million grant agreement as part of a United Nations-led emergency response for herders and their families afflicted by a protracted climate disaster in Mongolia, known as a “dzud.”
As Mongolia transitions to spring, 20 per cent of the country still has snow cover with 23 districts (soums) in six provinces (aimags) experiencing white dzud or nearly white dzud conditions.
Conditions remain unseasonably cold and there are concerns of an iron dzud emerging in some parts.
858,153 camels, horses, cows, sheep and goats have so far perished as a result of harsh conditions; 9,115 from disease.
Ulaanbaatar, April 11 2016 - In response to the recent Dzud disaster that has directly affected the lives of as many as 63,000 nomadic households in Mongolia, the United Nations mobilized $2.4 million from its Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) under the rapid response window.
As part of this assistance, food, nutrition packages and hygiene kits were handed over today to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for immediate distribution to women and children in affected communities.
Ulaanbaatar, 6th April 2016 – The European Commission is allocating € 420 000 (MNT 974 million) in humanitarian aid funding to provide emergency relief to families impacted by the dzud climatic phenomenon, which has triggered extreme temperatures in many parts of the country. The funds will be used to provide food assistance and cash transfers to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable populations.
Ulaanbaatar (April 7, 2016) - Sixteen of the twenty one Mongolian provinces were hit with extreme cold called “zud”. During this year's zud, daytime temperatures hovered around negative 25 ° C and at night dropped to negative 40 ° C. Large amounts of snow and thick layers of ice covered most of the pastures. These extreme conditions have killed more than 200,000 farm animals. For some Mongolian herders, animals are the only source of livelihood. According to the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), dzud has affected nearly 965,000 people.
On 17 March 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hosted a one-day meeting on El Niño Impacts and Priorities for Action. The event was well attended by representatives of member states, resource partners, UN agencies and NGOs, among others.
By Hler Gudjonsson, IFRC
Thousands of Mongolian herder families are at risk of losing their livelihoods this winter due to a combination of summer drought and extreme winter conditions. More than 360,000 animals have already died in Mongolia this winter, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal to support the Mongolian Red Cross Society in providing assistance to those who have been worst hit.
The impact of severe winter weather coupled with the lack of fodder continues to have a major impact on the livestock population of Mongolia’s herders. 550,000 animals have died from starvation and this number is expected to rise to 1.5 million animals in the next month. The IFRC launched an emergency appeal to provide emergency food parcels and cash support to vulnerable herder families.